Behind every mother lurks The Great Mother with her awesome power over life and death. Numerous fairy tales deal with women's and men's fear of this power and its threat to their individuality. This fascinating study discusses the psychology of this fear and patriarchal attempts to control it by impeding female bonding. The dynamics involved in the psychology of the birth episodes is especially intriguing. The study exhibits solid scholarship and a keen sense for the relevance of the fairy tale tradition to women of today.